'MaMbeki had strongest ties with ANC'

Pretoria - Despite being outspoken on numerous issues, Epainette Mbeki had a strong bond with the ANC, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Saturday.

“She donated her own kids to the ANC,” he told reporters on the sideline of the party's lekgotla in Irene, south of Pretoria.

Epainette Mbeki. File photo: Bonile Bam. Credit: Independent Newspapers

“Her own husband spent his life in the ANC. We had the strongest relationship with MaMbeki.”

Mantashe said to be outspoken was not condemned in the African National Congress.

“It is what we expect particularly from the veterans of the movement. They must put us in our place,” he said.

Epainette Mbeki, 98, died in East London, Eastern Cape on Saturday.

She was the mother of former president Thabo Mbeki and the wife of the late ANC and SA Communist Party stalwart Govan Mbeki.

Mantashe sent condolences to the Mbeki family.

“Her contribution sometimes gets understated. It gets swallowed into the contribution of other players in the family.

“We should create space for mother who kept the fire burning,” he said.

Mantashe said the ANC tried to enquire about the funeral but the family was still working on the arrangements.

“We are really with them in spirit and in prayers,” he said.